Crucial Role of Dopamine D2 Receptor Signaling in Nicotine-Induced Conditioned Place Preference

Gofarana Wilar, Yasuharu Shinoda, Toshikuni Sasaoka, Kohji Fukunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Nicotine in tobacco causes psychological dependence through its rewarding effect in the central nervous system (CNS). Although nicotine dependence is explained by dopamine receptor (DR) signaling together with nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), the synaptic molecular mechanism underlying the interaction between dopamine receptor and nAChRs remains unclear. Since reward signaling is mediated by dopamine receptors, we hypothesized that the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R), in part, mediates the synaptic modulation of nicotine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) in addition to dopamine D1 receptor. To investigate the involvement of D2R, wild-type (WT) and dopamine D2 receptor knockout (D2RKO) mice were assessed using the CPP task after induction of nicotine-induced CPP. As expected, D2RKO mice failed to induce CPP behaviors after repeated nicotine administration (0.5 mg/kg). When kinase signaling was assessed in the nucleus accumbens and hippocampal CA1 region after repeated nicotine administration, both Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) were upregulated in WT mice but not in D2RKO mice. Likewise, nicotine-induced CPP was associated with elevation of pro- brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and BDNF protein levels in WT mice, but not in D2RKO mice. Taken together, in addition to dopamine D1 receptor signaling, dopamine D2 receptor signaling is critical for induction of nicotine-induced CPP in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7911-7928
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1


  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor
  • Conditioned placed preference
  • Dopamine D2 receptor
  • Nicotine dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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